On Being A Non-Custodial Mom  

Sunday, March 23, 2008

By Barbara A. Clark, The Spirited Strider

I haven't posted here for awhile and now that I finally finished a condensed version of my personal story on my blog, I think it's time I write about it here, too. I would venture to guess that most readers here are moms who are with their children, everyday, caring and loving them.

I hope you realize that being with your children daily is a tremendous pleasure and privilege that no one should take for granted. I know from personal experience as I am a non-custodial mom. I haven't always been in that role, but it is a title I've unfortunately "owned" these last seven years.

I'd be interested in what thoughts came to your mind in reading that? Perhaps you have met other women who are in similar situations. Perhaps you know women who were drug addicts or had their kids taken away from them due to child neglect. My situation is none of these. I am an intelligent, loving, healthy mom who has joint custody of her kids but for whom I feel the court system didn't serve my children's best interests. My children live 1,000 miles away from me. Unfortunately, it is a story that is more often being told in the United States.

My life as a non-custodial mom has been difficult, full of judgments from all kinds of people, lonely, and heart-wrenchingly painful for my children. There have been a lot of tears on all sides during these past seven years.

Being a non-custodial mom doesn't make me less of a mother. It took me some years to realize that. Intellectually, I knew it to be so, but psychologically, I blamed my actions (and inactions) for my non-custodial state. I lived with regret for awhile, but soon learned that I could be the best mother I could be by taking care of myself and forgiving myself for things I did or didn't do.

Upon reflection, it was the same advice I intellectually gave myself and didn't follow when I was a custodial mom, always doing everything I could for my kids, my husband and ignoring my own needs. How many times do we as mothers put everyone else's needs before our own? I know we all know the answer to that one!

So rather than get into the details of my story, you are welcome to review it on my blog in a series of four posts I wrote called Life Challenges: What Led Me Here (Parts I-IV). It was a bit long, so I had to break it into 4 parts!

My experience and self-growth has led me to where I am now: in a position to serve other moms who are facing a similar situation or who are fearful of losing their children. While I was going through this, I leaned on a lot of other women who are part of a non-custodial mother's listserve group on Yahoo that helped me a lot.

Now it's my turn to give back. If there are any other non-custodial mothers out there, I'd really love to hear from you. If you're moms who are blessed to be raising your children by your side everyday, I'd love to hear from you, too.

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3 comments: to “ On Being A Non-Custodial Mom

  • girlforallstatus
    March 27, 2008 at 5:21 a.m.  

    You're a strong person. I don't know what I'd do if I get separated from my kids.

  • Rebecca
    May 12, 2008 at 5:38 p.m.  

    I know what I'd do, I'd go crazy. In fact, that's what I did! It's been ten years for me, nearly, and I'm only just now getting to the point of being able to reach out and get help. I know I need to heal in order to be available and truly mother my precious children. Thank you for the article!

  • Tricia
    December 18, 2010 at 3:47 p.m.  

    I was a SAHM who homeschooled. I was abused and didn't want my children to live that life so I left and took the children, filing and receiving a protective order. The abuser then went to the court ant told them that I abused him/his mother/children (to get the children back). He got emergency custody (without having a doctors report of abuse. In fact CPS said there was NO abuse!) He had the children for 6 months and I was only allowed supervised visitation that I had to pay $70 and hour for. I was only allowed 4 hours a week of that if I could afford it. After 7 custody hearings, the judge threw out the emergency custody and gave me every other weekend with my babies. At the end of the 7 month HELL, the judge was afraid that if he gave me custody, my ex would come after me like he did when I had custody of them, so he gave them to my ex. My ex is a narcissistic sociopath. My poor 8 year old daughter is so torn and I can already seeing his personality coming into her. Please pray. I'm NOT done fighting! Even though the judge gave him custody, he also told him he had broken the law. I will be taking the transcript to criminal court and having him convicted there. THEN I will HOPEFULLY get my babies back by default and through an abusive marriage-divorce.


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